General

The Sports Apparel Manifesto: While We’re Waiting…

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Happy Thursday, readers. No championships this week, but Baker Mayfield is on the way with one soon enough! (Kidding. Well, half-kidding anyway.) But while we’re waiting…

Freedom is one of America’s most cherished values. But it comes with great responsibility — and limits. For instance, you can’t use your car to maul a pedestrian in a crosswalk at a red light “because freedom.” There are other things in the broad sphere of human activity that are not criminal, but still shouldn’t be done. Regardless of the intelligence John Travolta shares in Pulp Fiction about the dining habits of the Dutch, you shouldn’t dip your fries in mayonnaise. It’s allowed. You can do it. It’s not against any federal law. But you shouldn’t.

There are unofficial rules for all sorts of human activity. Often they’re arcane, arbitrary, and largely pointless. I don’t know which fork I’m supposed to eat my salad with at a wedding or fancy dinner — they’re all pointy and capable lettuce stabbers and meat impalers. But these rules of etiquette both written and unwritten govern our society, from romantic pursuits — don’t take a first date out for chicken wings — to inter-driver relations — give the “Thank you and also sorry for being a dick” wave when you must cut someone off.

There are also rules of sports fandom. Don’t leave a close game to beat traffic. Don’t gamble against your team unless they’ve already been eliminated from playoff contention. Get off your phone during live gameplay. Don’t come to a tailgate empty-handed or — even more offensively — with one small bag of ice. (What are we trying to do, keep one Yoo-hoo cold?)

Some sports fandom rules butt heads with society more broadly. For example: Don’t schedule a fall wedding. Just don’t do it. I don’t care if you’re consecrating your sacred vow to eternal love, don’t be upset with me for streaming the Ohio State-Penn State game from Pew 12B — YOU KNEW BETTER, SHANNON.

A subset of the broader rules of fandom are the rules on sports fashion. Fashion more broadly is entirely based on arbitrary rules (don’t wear white after X, wear black to Y, wear pants to everywhere). But there are many unique laws of fashion as applied to sports apparel.

You can legally break these rules of sports fashion, but in doing so you imperil societal order. You deserve scorn, derision, and great shame. I’m not saying that wearing a Jerome Bettis jersey to Trader Joe’s on a Wednesday in March directly leads to our species regressing to cave-apes bashing each others’ skulls in with rhino femurs — I’m just saying it’s a slippery slope.

Others have feebly attempted to codify some of the rules of sports fashion, particularly as they relate to sports jerseys. Some of these are valiant attempts, others are not. But none of them have undertaken this endeavor as soberly, solemnly, and seriously as I have.

This is a grave and dreadfully ponderous undertaking. As a creature of the law and a sports blogger who has devoted a reprehensible amount of time to our society’s most pointless problems, I am uniquely qualified to delineate the rules of sports fashion. I have also sought the opinions of former WFNY contributor Jessica Forrester as a Sports Fashion Consultant for some much needed feminine perspective to improve this comprehensive guide. I have annotated her comments in brackets.

This is the Sports Apparel Manifesto.

Rule No. 1: Thou shalt only wear jerseys on game days.

I’m not going to be one of those hardliners that takes the tact, “No one should ever wear a jersey,” or, “A real man never wears another man’s name on his back!” Jerseys are cool — feel free to wear them, but only under the right circumstances. The most important circumstance for jerseys is that they are worn on an actual game day. Note: T-shirt jerseys1 are not subject to this rule. They’re t-shirts first, jerseys second.

The jersey is your most formal fan uniform and should be worn appropriately. The jersey is a costume no different than a Halloween costume, or even the lawyer costume or the doctor costume or the Chotchkie’s costume that you wear to work. No one walks around doing normal everyday things with a briefcase or stethoscope or 37 pieces of flair unless you just left your job. If you saw a guy dressed as an airline pilot at Little Caesars you wouldn’t think, “Wow, a pilot! What an honor,” you would think, “Wow, that guy’s an idiot and possibly a serial killer.” You wouldn’t dress like Iron Man to clean out your gutters or mow your lawn. Save it for work, Halloween, Comic-Con, etc.

Similarly, save the jersey for game day. People who violate this rule are the gravest threat to mankind’s ability to self-govern future besides antibiotic-resistant superbugs, nuclear weapons, and the impending climate cataclysm. Wearing a Peyton Manning Denver Broncos jersey to walk around downtown San Diego in March is NOT a fashion statement — it’s a cry for help.

[Jessica: I have to say, I completely co-sign everything Kyle has outlined here. If you’re not at a game or some sort of sport-related special event, leave the jersey at home, my friend. I think, generally speaking, the people who wear sports jerseys all the time are the same people who buy souvenir t-shirts on vacation and actually wear them. Leave the Nags Head tee in the drawer, Gary. Don’t be that guy.]

First Exception to Rule No. 1: Special Events

You are free to wear a Roberto Clemente jersey to Cooperstown, rock your favorite throwback to your fantasy football draft, or sport a jersey on the day of that player’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Wearing jerseys to spring training or training camp, or on the day of NBA or NFL draft are all acceptable. But Tricia, if your new boyfriend wears his Carson Wentz jersey to dinner on Friday night, we are all going to think he’s a total doofus.

Second Exception to Rule No. 1: Sleeveless basketball jerseys if you’re drinking all day.

Sometimes you just can’t be bothered with sleeves, especially if you’re drinking all day. This rule is in full effect on the beach, at any event with “festival” in its title, and especially on boats. Basketball jerseys are sleeveless yet cool and somewhat tasteful, and if you’re a guy it’s hard to not look trashy without sleeves.

(Note 1: Cavaliers fans, the black sleeved jerseys cannot avail themselves of this rule. Yes, they’re cool and the Cavs won in 2016 wearing them. But the rationale only applies to sleeveless jerseys, and the law applies as such.)

(Note 2: Women can still wear basketball jerseys under these circumstances, even though there are many more viable and tasteful sleeveless options.)

Rule No. 2: Jerseys are for active players currently on the team.

These are the acceptable options for jersey choices. First and most obviously: current players. If the player whose jersey you’re wearing isn’t on the team, then you’re just rooting for a ghost or, even worse, a player on another team. Boogie Cousins doesn’t play for the Sacramento Kings anymore. He signed with the Golden State Warriors. He is now the enemy — not only of Kings fans but any self-respecting fan with a shred of dignity outside the Bay Area.

There is a one-year grace period to squirrel away some extra cash or ask for a Christmas present in the event a player unexpectedly leaves. Los Angeles Clippers fans had an excuse to wear the Chris Paul jersey last season — but that excuse is now expired.

First Exception to Rule No. 2: Legends who are either: a. retired, or b. are completely blameless in their departure.

Joe Thomas jerseys are, thankfully, now and forever acceptable — voidable only upon Joe Thomas’ commission of an act of high treason. Joe Thomas was a legend throughout his career, retired a legend, and will always be a legend. If the Browns — in an act of charity, mercy, and goodwill unprovoked by Thomas — had traded him to a contender, Browns fans could have continued wearing Joe Thomas jerseys. After all, Thomas gave all he could to the Browns organization and fans and in return received 10,000 consecutive mostly meaningless snaps. Had the Browns voluntarily traded him, who could have harbored any ill will toward Thomas? Not I, nor anyone else who has a Browns jersey.

The most controversial contraband at this time under this rule is Kyrie Irving — the former first-round draft pick and All-Star who helped the Cavaliers capture their first and only title in team history in 2016, later forced his way out of Cleveland by demanding a trade and threatened an inessential surgery to ensure that trade occurred.

Last season, it would have been within the one-year grace period to wear an Irving jersey. But the Kyrie Irving honeymoon and its grace period have elapsed. Kyrie Irving plays for the despicable Boston Celtics, and Kyrie Irving likely hates me and all of you. Until Kyrie Irving retires and can be included in the “retired legend” category, find a new placeholder jersey.

It almost goes without saying that jerseys of organizational cornerstones who have retired need no further justification. Jim Brown? Of course. Bernie Kosar? Absolutely. Bob Feller? Heck yeah. Austin Carr? Sure … but Carr may be safer under the following exception.

[Jessica: As a Browns fan who only wears a Bernie Kosar #19 jersey, I’m a big fan of this exception. I stopped buying jerseys for current players in any sport when about six Indians in a row got traded right after I acquired their shirseys in the 90s. I made the decision then to only wear retired players and legends. It’s not for me, you guys, I do it to preserve our existing talent.]

Second Exception to Rule No. 2: Jerseys with obscure, sentimental, or comic appeal.

This exception can be used to shoehorn in jerseys of active players who signed elsewhere, jerseys of retired players with lackluster careers, or jerseys you were too lazy or cheap to replace. This can alternatively be called “Mookie Blaylock Exception.” It’s a hilarious name, and Mookie Blaylock jerseys are always welcome.

For example, it would be a stretch to call World B. Free a Cavalier “legend” — he was an unabashed chucker who played three seasons with the Cavaliers. But World B. Free has one of the coolest and funniest names in sports history. A World B. Free jersey will always initiate a chuckle from a sophisticated fellow fan. Similarly, a Metta World Peace jersey will always be hilarious.

I still see a lot of Joe Jurevicius jerseys among Browns fans, which is acceptable if you went to Lake Catholic high school like Jurevicius or he’s your actual father or something. There is sentimental value there.

The same goes for an Ira Newble jersey. No one could be upset at someone wearing an Ira Newble jersey — just impressed that someone was willing to spend money on it — even if it was at a thrift store. I custom-ordered a Utah No. 9 Ohio State jersey two years, and a knowing wink or high-five from a fellow fan is like a secret handshake from the savviest Buckeye and Point Break fans. It is my most prized possession.

[Jessica: I know a mid-30s guy who recently purchased an AC Slater No. 6 Bayside High jersey, and he’s now wearing it as often as he can. It works.]

Third Exception to Rule No. 2: You’re a Browns fan.

The Browns have had so many mediocre players come, briefly rise to Pro Bowl viability, and go in a span of eight weeks, that Browns fans can’t be faulted for a retroactively ill-advised jersey purchase. Furthermore, they haven’t had one reliably good skill position player or quarterback to last more than one season. Joe Thomas is the only good thing the Browns have had that lasted longer than three games since 1999, and offensive linemen jerseys are unsexy to most people (not to me, but to most people). Browns fans don’t deserve derision for donning a Reuben Droughns or Peyton Hillis jersey, they deserve a hug and a good cry.

In this vein, a Dennis Northcutt jersey is either the worst or best Browns jersey. Worst because his career was a crushing disappointment and forgettable even by squandered-Browns-receiver standards. Best because … someone could still own that? The fact that a human person took the effort to preserve a Dennis Northcutt jersey for more than a decade and to prevent movers, mothers, boyfriends, or spouses from doing him or her the favor of destroying it is borderline heroic. Somewhere in Northeast Ohio is a man who escaped from a house fire with only his Dennis Northcutt while the rest of his treasured belongings and family heirlooms went up in flames. And by God let this man wear his Dennis Northcutt jersey to any Browns game he wants.

Note: Take advantage of this rule while you still can, Browns fans. If Myles Garrett or Baker Mayfield survive this season without getting struck by lightning or being hit by an asteroid, they will by then have become capable franchise players and you must purchase their jersey and destroy your Johnny Manziel and Kellen Winslow jerseys, preferably in a volcano.

Rule No. 3: No collars or buttoned shirts underneath jerseys.

This maneuver is visible courtside at nearly every NBA game. Some uptight, prudish dude (usually white, frequently with glasses), wants to look “nice” because he’s sitting in the most expensive seats in sports but also wants to look “cool” as a real fan, so he just throws a jersey over his business casual button-down. This isn’t merely a fashion crime, but a fashion atrocity, and a violation of the Geneva Sports Apparel Conventions that I will author once the U.N. returns my calls.

We understand, guy trying to straddle the line between Men’s Wearhouse and Foot Locker: You want to look respectable in front of the big partners at the firm who generously allowed you to tag along in their seats, but you also want to pretend to be just “one of the guys” drinking “brewskis” with “the boys” at “the big game.” You think it says, “Look! I’m both white collar and blue collar! A top-notch CPA but also a normal guy!” but what it really says is, “I’m a fraudulent corporate robot who knows nothing about being a real sports fan. I have more in common with a fax machine than most of the team’s fans. I botch three-to-ten high fives every game.”

It’s an easy fix: either wear a t-shirt under the jersey or wear a collared shirt without a jersey. That’s cool that you can expense your nachos and Miller Lites on the company card, but the rest of us see through your hollow ruse and are just waiting for you to further embarrass yourself by asking if the Cavs are in the double bonus yet.

Rule No. 4: Thou shalt only wear jerseys or apparel to the proper sporting event.

This should be self-evident, but somehow it is not. This rule is inspired by hundreds of violators over the years that I have witnessed in person or on television: people wearing Ohio State gear to a Cleveland Cavaliers game, people wearing Browns gear to an Indians game, people wearing a Boston Red Sox hat to a Mariners-Rangers game. “Marlins Man” is the most famous and flagrant violator of this rule … and he’s a buffoon.

Wearing the wrong apparel to the sporting event conveys one or more of the following: I am lost, I like to annoy other people, I have no idea where I am, you should unfollow my Facebook feed, I interrupt other people’s stories to share uninvited opinions, I actually believe that the New York Giants will spontaneously interrupt this Knicks-Wizards game, my friends and spouse don’t like me, or I have dementia. Following this rule means that you have to have apparel of the correct: city, season, sport, and team.

I’ve even broken this rule. I’ve worn Cleveland Indians gear to a San Diego Padres game. The Indians were not playing in the game. I now realize that this was stupid and I was being a jackass. It’s the Jon Hamm move. I love Jon Hamm, but it’s poor form and he knew damn well what he was doing.

What should you wear if you’re not a fan of either team? Wear something completely neutral or, even better, a color that’s vaguely supportive of the home team. For instance, I now tend to wear a plain blue similar to the Padres’ blue when I go to a baseball game in downtown San Diego. I may be a Padres fan, I may not be. But at least I look ambiguously supportive of the home team and am not flaunting my support for a team that’s not even present.

We understand — you like other teams. In fact, you may not even like any of the teams participating in the contest. In which case, you must only be there to enjoy the experience, be a dispassionate observer, or because your significant other dragged you along. Either way, don’t broadcast your allegiances to an absent entity to everyone around you. To the man who wore an Emmitt Smith jersey to an Oklahoma City Thunder game last February: You sir, are a raging psychopath. Don’t let anyone take that away from you — least of all me.

Exception to Rule No. 4: Secondary apparel items

You can absolutely wear a secondary apparel item (typically a hat) to support a non-present team as long as you are wearing a primary apparel item for one of the participating teams. The primary apparel item gets you past the velvet rope of civilized society — explore your freedom and express yourself with your secondary item. This is doubly true for local teams. Ohio State baseball hat with a Cavs jersey at a Cavs game? Acceptable. Indians caps with a Browns jersey at a Browns game? Excellent. Cavs warm-up sweats at an Indians game with an Indians t-shirt? Sure — I’m not the sweatpants police. Marlins jersey to an Indians-Yankees game. No.

I’m on the fence about openly conflicting allegiances or non-local teams. Here’s the law as of now: The secondary item must support a team who has no open, ongoing conflict with the team, city, or colors you purport to back with the primary apparel item.

[Jessica: Before you get into scenarios, I just want to say that I am Here. For. This. I’m all for crossover if you’re supporting teams that “go” together. Mix it up. Just don’t wear an Indians hat and a Steelers jersey. They’ll punch you in the streets of Downtown Cleveland for much less.]

This can be fairly complicated in application. Consider the following scenarios.

1. A St. Louis Cardinals hat with a Cleveland Browns jersey at a Cleveland Browns game. I’m willing to allow it as a different sport and different city with whom Cleveland has no ongoing feud. I especially support this if the Cardinals are in the playoffs and play that evening. I’m sure the Indians and Cardinals have some bad blood in the distant past. But I have no ongoing grudge as a Clevelander and Indians fan toward either the city of St. Louis or the Cardinals. Is it weird? Yes. But maybe your mom was a hardcore Cardinals fan but you grew up in Cleveland or something. Acceptable.

2. A New York Yankees hat with a Cleveland Browns jersey at a Cleveland Browns game. As a Clevelander, it is my civic duty to despise all things New York and Boston. To support the Yankees and Red Sox hats while wearing a Cleveland Browns jersey is just wrong. In fact, it’s sickening. So no Yankees, Red Sox, Celtics, Patriots, Pirates, or Penguins gear with Cleveland gear you vile monster. Unacceptable.

3. A University of Michigan hat with a Cleveland Browns jersey. This may be controversial — but this is unacceptable. Ohio and Michigan are long-standing, ongoing nemeses; foes ad infinitum. This is a delicate issue because there are many Browns/Michigan fans in Ohio — especially from the northwestern corner of the state. In fact, the two states fought a half-assed war over Toledo in Northwest Ohio in 1835. Akron Zips, Dayton Flyers, Kent State Golden Flashes, Ohio Bobcats, Ohio State Buckeyes, and even something goofy like Virginia Tech Hokies gear with a Browns jersey is acceptable. This rule is sure to rankle some Browns fans who have a problem with it. But there’s an easy solution if you’re a Michigan Wolverines fan — leave your hat at home or, even better, root for the Lions.

4. A New Orleans Saints hat with a Cleveland Browns shirt. Unacceptable. For some reason, you’re only allowed to have two teams in the MLB, where you are permitted to have one (1) National League and one (1) American League team. But there must be a hierarchy and a clearly defined favorite. But you can’t have two NFL, NBA, or Premier League teams. I can’t explain why this is the case, but it is. So while a New Orleans Saints hat with a Cleveland Browns shirt is unacceptable, a let’s say Milwaukee Brewers hat and a Cleveland Indians shirt is acceptable albeit weird at an Indians game against an American League opponent.

Rule No. 5: Unless it’s game day, never more than one apparel item at a time.

This should be a no-brainer. There is no defensible reason for wearing multiple apparel items to support a team on a non-gameday. There is an appropriate place and time to wear a Chicago Cubs Wrigley Field t-shirt and a Chicago Cubs 2016 World Series Champions hat — and it’s not to the gym on a Monday night. There is an appropriate place and time to wear a Los Angeles Rams t-shirt and a Los Angeles Rams baseball cap – and it’s not to the gym on a Monday night.

Exception to Rule No. 5: The golf course.

It is acceptable to wear a Cleveland Cavaliers visor with a Cleveland Cavaliers golf shirt, or a Cleveland Browns hat with a Cleveland Browns quarter-zip dad pullover if you have some sort of whole “theme” thing going on. Besides, looking ridiculous is like … 40 percent the point of golf, anyway.

Rule No. 6: Save superfandom for attendance at home games.

I’m conflicted about superfans in general. I think they serve a purpose, but they’re also hack and often represent the worst fans and worst aspects of fandom. Some are cooler than others. The world would be a better place if Buck-I-Guy fell non-lethally down a well for 12 hours every Saturday.

But in any event, save it for home games. Superfandom need not travel. Big Dawg is fine in Cleveland, Ohio; not so much in Miami, Florida. Ratchet up the obnoxiousness for the Dawg Pound if you must, but there’s no need to wear an orange and brown hard hat to The Winking Lizard.

Rule No. 7: No Make America Great Again apparel.

No.

Rule No. 8: No pink gear if you want to be taken seriously. 

[Jessica: I’ve never been a fan of the “ladies” version of any piece of sports apparel. Tiny, shrunken jerseys in pastel pink and white … barf. What are we, newborn babies? Give me an oversized shirt in actual team colors any day.]

I defer to my Sports Fashion Consultant on all matters that primarily affect women. No team’s official colors (to date)2 have pink as part of the color scheme, so it’s relatively straight-forward in my opinion. I wouldn’t wear a green Cavaliers jersey … why should a pink one get a pass?

Rule No. 9: No his and hers custom gear. 

[Jessica: Don’t be one of those couples with matching jerseys that have sayings that go together on the back, like “TOGETHER” on your boyfriend’s back and “SINCE 2016” on yours. I know it looks cute on Pinterest, but I can assure you… it’s not cute in real life.]

Rule No. 10: No “divided loyalty” outfits. 

We’ve all seen people wear the grotesque jersey that is half one team and one other team, otherwise known as the Laura Quinn split jersey. Either pick a favorite, have the mental discipline to be dispassionate about who wins, or the courage to not care. There was a woman on TV during the Ohio State-TCU game wearing Ohio State and TCU gear. That’s lame. If you went to graduate school of one school, then you almost always root for the undergraduate school unless you hated it. If you transferred, then root for the one from which you graduated.

I understand this one can be especially challenging for parents with kids on both teams, but not that challenging. We know you have a favorite child — just root for his or her team. Larry Nance Sr. still wore Cavaliers gear even when his son played for the Lakers against the Cavs. Be more like Larry Nance, and less like Wakers fans. 

Rule No. 11: No baseball gloves unless you’re with a child or are directly down the first base or third base line. 

This isn’t fantasy camp. Also, while we’re here, stop asking the left fielder for a ball every half inning adult man.

Overarching Exception No. 1: You’re a child.

Dovetailing with the baseball glove exception for people with kids, you can wear a jersey whenever you want, or anything whenever you want, if you’re a child. Obviously, this is subject to the parent’s discretion. After all, parents need to teach children the rules of a civilized society — including these rules — at some point. But teaching children propriety is a gradual process. It need not be complete when they’re six. If a six-year-old kid wants to wear a Cam Newton jersey to school, then, by all means, let her. In fact, it might make her the coolest kid in the first grade.

What is the age cutoff for this rule? I would suggest nine years old. The age of 10 has two digits, adulthood is rapidly approaching, and the social-convention horrorshow that is adolescence is within sight. But I defer to parents on this one.

If my parents would have let me wear my Batman t-shirt every day from the ages of three-to-six, I would have. They didn’t, and I eventually learned about things like reasonable social conventions, laundry, and general hygiene. But I still wore it every third day for a few years. Kids should be allowed to feel like superheroes sometimes, and parents need to pick their battles. Mommy and Daddy just got him to stop eating dirt and pulling the dog’s tail and exposing his bare ass to the neighbor’s daughter. Let him wear the Batman shirt, or the LeBron James jersey, or the tutu to school today. Let him wear whatever the hell he wants. Mommy and Daddy are too tired to argue about it this morning.

Overarching Exception No. 2: You’re poor.

If you’re poor, you can break basically any one of these rules if your poverty is severe enough. The balancing act is “how poor you are” versus “how severe in the transgression.” You can’t afford any Cavaliers swag? Fine, wear an Indians t-shirt. But if you’re wearing a Matthew Stafford jersey to the tire shop in June? That better be the only shirt you own.

When I was in college and law school, I often wore an Ohio State basketball jersey to football games. I only had money for rent, food, and beer, and I even bought the basketball jersey on clearance for $25 in the team shop after the last basketball home game of the season. I couldn’t afford luxuries like “officially licensed merchandise,” “limited edition replica jerseys,” or “books” in college.

Overarching Exception No. 3: It’s Really F’ing Cold

Rules of fashion and decorum go out the window when it’s really f’ing cold. When a front swoops in from the uninhabitable tundra of Canada, that frigid breeze starts blowing in from the dead lifeless green blob known as Lake Erie, wear whatever you need to stay warm: Carhartt overalls, a Red Army jacket, a woolly mammoth pelt.

When I was eight years old, I wore one of those billowy Browns Starter jackets and a Green Bay Packers toboggan cap to Game 4 of the 1997 World Series. I had Indians gear on underneath the Browns jacket. But it was snowing, the Browns didn’t exist, eight-year-old me liked Brett Favre, and it was really f’ing cold and I didn’t have baseball gear made for the North Pole.

Lump in all other weather-related exceptions here as well. If it’s pouring rain, it’s preferable that your galoshes or poncho match the team colors. But wear whatever you need to avoid hypothermia. Fans deserve a Purple Heart just for showing up to watch the Browns tie the Steelers in a biblical downpour or win 8-0 over the Bills in a blizzard. But mere heat is no excuse for manifesto violations — if you can afford a ticket, you can afford a t-shirt or tank top, and (gratefully) full-blown nudity isn’t an option.

Note: This exception only applies if it’s really f’ing cold. Not “chilly.” Not “brisk.” Not “kind of cold.” How do you know when it’s “really f’ing cold”? Simple. When you’re walking to the stadium and your buddy or girlfriend turns to you and says, “[Expletive.] It’s really [expletive] cold.” and all present agree, usually with more expletives, then it’s really f’ing cold.

That’s the Sports Apparel Manifesto for now, pending further revision and amendment. Reasonable people may disagree with the rules, but they are infallible. Also, feel free to break these rules because they are, like most things about sports, delightfully dumb. I have broken many of them at one point or another. But these codes are nonetheless a component of an orderly and civilized society. Without them, society will devolve into utter chaos, reverting us to savage beasts driven by our basest instincts and governed jungle law. Abiding these rules proves that you were not raised by wolves … or at least not Wolves fans, anyway.

The Calvin and Hobbes Strip of the Day. I think Calvin would have really enjoyed the internet, the discordant rapidity of which makes television look quaint by comparison.

And now for the random 90s song of the day. The Counting Crows are one of the few acts from the 90s that seemed like they should have translated to the ensuing decades but didn’t. (It’s also peculiar that two of best bands of the 90s had corvine names, The Black Crowes and the Counting Crows, and neither feel distinctly “nineties.”) The Counting Crows were definitely more than a 90s novelty act destined to be relegated to that specific decade and no more, like Sugar Ray or the Spice Girls; had a legitimate songwriter in Adam Duritz, and even made one of best albums of the decade. But they never really fulfilled the promise of an iconic career for reasons that still don’t make total sense to me.

Nonetheless, nobody captures early autumn optimistic melancholy better than the Counting Crows; which makes it fitting that their crowning achievement was titled August and Everything After. In late September and early October, as the days shorten and my seasonal affective disorder starts to kick in, all I want to do is sleep and watch football and listen to the Counting Crows and have an excuse to be sad — and there are always several.

One of the Counting Crows’ dreamiest and most whimsical songs is “Mrs. Potter’s Lullaby.” Duritz told the Broward Palm Beach New Times [ital] that the song was written Monica Potter, who graduated from Cleveland’s own Euclid High School and played Tricia Poe in the simultaneously good-bad action classic Con Air. The origin story of “Mrs. Potters Lullaby” is actually fairly fascinating. So light a pumpkin-scented candle, play this song, take a nap, and be sad about something.

If dreams are like movies
Then memories are films about ghosts
You can never escape
You can only move south down the coast

Well, I am an idiot
Walking a tightrope of fortune and fame
I am an acrobat
Swinging trapezes through circles of flame

If you’ve never stared off into the distance
Then your life is a shame

  1. Editor’s note: or as I refer to them shirseys. []
  2. Except maybe the Miami Vice City Edition jerseys, which are actually awesome. []